Q&A: All your water charges questions answered

What will it cost, when do I start paying, and do I still need to give them my PPS number?

Minister for Environment Alan Kelly today announced the new and revised water charges package

Minister for Environment Alan Kelly today announced the new and revised water charges package

 

So, what’s the damage?

The Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly has just announced that households made up of two adults or more will have to pay €160 a year - a figure which includes a €100 rebate from the Department of Social Welfare which will be applied once people register with Irish Water. Single adult households will pay an effective €60 rate.

That is a lot less than planned?

It is. In fact, the changes mean Ireland will have one of the cheapest water charges regimes in Europe.

There have been fears that the charges will climb once the introductory period passes. How can we be sure the charges will stay this low?

We can’t, but now the Government has enshrined a permanent cap on charges into law, which should convince homeowners that their water bills will not increase substantially once the existing fixed rates lapse at the end of 2018.

What about the Irish Water staff bonuses?

They will not be paid any bonuses for 2014 and the entire pay structure is to be reviewed.

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What about the metering?

Around 400,000 houses have meters - slightly more than a quarter of all residential properties. The metering programme will continue, although the imperative is not so great now, as the assessed charge will stay in place for at least three years.

How about PPS numbers?

Irish Water will no longer require individuals’ PPS numbers. For those who have already registered Irish Water will delete any PPS related information.

What are the specific reductions?

The metered bills pricing has charged for water in/out. It is now reduced by half a cent to €3.70 per 1,000 litres (almost 25% lower than the previous subsidised rate).

I have a meter, is it useless now?

No. If you are on a meter and use less water than the assessed charge you’ll get a rebate. Meter readings on the last day of every month will be automatically recorded and stored for three months. The readers who check your meter at any point over the three months beginning in January will know what it was set at on day one and make adjustments accordingly.

How much does it cost to produce clean water?

There has been much talk about resistance to paying for water, but we have always paid for it. It costs €1.2 billion a year to provide a supply and it is paid for by the people through general taxation. Irish Water has estimated that it will cost just under €600 per household to provide everyone with water. The Government is subsidising the rest.

Now that the charges have fallen, how will our water be paid for?

The Government will have to increase the subsidy.

And where will that money come from?

We will pay it.

Oh.